The University of South Carolina completed an upgrade of the wireless network on its main campus in six weeks, increasing internet access points and speed in residence halls.
USC worked with higher education IT consultants PIER Group LLC, based in Indiana, and Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, to upgrade the network, which serves 35,000 students. The upgrade added more than 4,700 network access points in residence halls alone, compared to the previous 4,052 access points on the entire campus, according to a news release.
“We’re committed to opening a safe environment for our students this fall, so they can focus on learning and earning their degree,” Dan Schumacher, associate vice president of infrastructure for USC’s division of information technology, said in the release. “Our new wireless infrastructure gives students who live in residence halls the bandwidth for data-heavy activities, including video streaming and virtual collaboration, enhancing their learning experience.”
The teams followed protocols related to the COVID-19 health crisis while upgrading hardware and software.
“In this environment, we couldn’t even physically shake hands,” said Chad Williams, PIER Group president. “Our lead engineer couldn’t prep equipment on campus, so we rented a hotel room across the street. But we solved all of our issues collaboratively, and together, we got the job done.”
The expanded network will increase reliability, providing faster speeds and fewer disconnections, according to the release. It will also enhance university security systems and offer more centralized management.
“The upgrade was done quickly and efficiently,” April Barnes, executive director of university housing, said. “We are excited about the expanded capabilities of Wi-Fi in our residence halls and the opportunities it will provide our students. I am confident this upgrade will be extremely helpful and beneficial to our students, especially as we navigate through uncertain times during the COVID-19 pandemic.”o